You Can’t Balance It All

I’m the kind of person that always has 50 web browsers open. I’m always juggling a few too many balls at once. And my balancing act is actually less of an act and more of a survival-style balancing struggle.

Even at this current moment, I am writing this blog, picking out candle fragrances on Yankee candle company, choosing Spring wardrobes for the kids, planning out our garden, buying seeds for Spring, fulfilling orders for my Etsy shop and working on our budget sheet.

I think most of us are trying to fit about 165 hours into a 24 hour day. (I also think we forget to count our sleeping time in that 24 hour period… which leaves only 16 hours into which we try to shove that 165 hours worth of “stuff” to do.)

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If you’re like me, you want to do it all. You want to it all, right now, right when an opportunity arises and you want to succeed at everything.

I wanted to continue being a multi-tasking, farm-running, skincare making, homeschooling, DIY-ing, homemaking, full time working, friendship making, business growing, all homemade cooking, story telling, graphic designing, entertaining, blog writing BADASS.

And I could keep up that pace for about 2 months before I turned into a… half ass tasking, farm-barely running, skincare making, lazy homeschooling, full time working, lame-ass friendship making, business definitely not growing, all homemade cooking (at the expense of yelling at everyone in sight), complaining, miserable, shitty entertaining, depressed, exhausted, blog writing TRAINWRECK.

Why?? BECAUSE IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO DO EVERYTHING.

Because at some point, you have to make a CHOICE about what you want to dedicate your time to.. and what you are actually ABLE to dedicate your time to.

As I realized that I had way too much on my plate, I started to slowly disappear from family and friends. It was always, “Oh my gosh, I have so much shit to do…” I stopped hanging out with my friends, I stopped calling my mom to talk and then I suddenly just downright couldn’t function. SYSTEM OVERLOAD.

(INSERT NERVOUS BREAKDOWN HERE)

Obviously the answer to this problem is that you have to choose. But HOW do you choose? How do you choose when you have so much going on, and you love it all, and you’re passionate at all of it, and you’re good at all of it and you just don’t know which one you should stick with RIGHT at this exact moment because WHAT IF YOU CHOOSE THE WRONG THING AND MISS OUT ON THE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME???

What if? What if? What if?

So, I’m starting to ask myself one question to decide what fits and what doesn’t…

Will this still be something that I love/am passionate about/get excited about/want/see myself having/doing in 10 years? Or will I be over it in 10 weeks or 10 months?

I know 10 years seems like a long time out… but if it’s a ONCE IN A LIFETIME opportunity, it should still be impacting your life even 10 years out. You should still be able to see the things that you are doing in your long-term plan (unless it’s something you’re doing out of necessity and you know is short term).

Life is way too short to do things that aren’t in your long-term plans.

Make the hard choices.

Go for your dreams.

Be bold, brave and fearless.

Never give up.

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21 Quotes to Help You QUIT Making Excuses

Boy do I understand making excuses. In fact, this post is inspired by the fact that it’s 2pm on a Saturday afternoon, and despite getting up at 7:45 this morning, I still haven’t done a single thing on my to do list.

I haven’t gone to the grocery, I haven’t done any laundry. I haven’t cleaned the house. I haven’t vacuumed. I haven’t worked out. I haven’t meal prepped. Basically I’ve spent my day sitting here being a lazy, grumpy, unproductive blob.

I won’t be making any excuses today, though. As soon as I hit “POST” I’ll be going to the grocery and getting my “to do list” done, and doing my workout, before bedtime. I’m not going to enjoy the work, but I’m definitely going to enjoy the results.

So, if you need some motivation not to make excuses… check out some of these awesome quotes I’ve collected for you!

 

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This last one is my favorite! I have it on a canvas that hangs in my house as a constant reminder that my success is up to me! 😉

Dear High School Girl

I saw a post that was making its rounds on social media, and I couldn’t help but feel a strong pull to write to you, too. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing advice from everyone, but give me a chance, will you?

It’s been 10 years since I was in High School, long enough that I feel I’m finally in a place to give you advice, but still recent enough that I remember how much it HURT to go through what you’re probably going through right now.

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High School really DOESN’T last forever. I know that you know this. And I knew this, too. It’s just that it’s hard to separate feelings from the facts… but you need to know that this feeling and this period of your life WILL NOT last forever. I remember that something about the entire experience felt eternal, and I swear I would have sold my soul to the Devil at the time if it meant I wouldn’t have been so miserable, depressed and lonely.

The #1 thing that I wish you would know and believe is that NO GUY IS WORTH YOUR VIRGINITY IN HIGH SCHOOL. TRUST ME. Hold onto that and wait for someone amazing (preferably when you’re married).

My High School experience can best be described as a combination of “Easy A” meets “Juno”… I thought sex would make guys like me. (I know it’s dumb.. but I also know you’ve thought this, too.) So, I started telling people I’d had sex and done things that I hadn’t actually done. Not so shockingly this resulted in me having quite the reputation. Even though it wasn’t true, it was a reputation that lasted “forever.”

After realizing that this reputation wasn’t going to go away, and with my history of being sexually abused, I decided to Hell with everything! I was going to have sex then! It gave ME control, it temporarily made me feel wanted, and it is what everyone THOUGHT I was already doing anyways. So I did it.

It didn’t take very long before this mindset came to a screeching halt. I got pregnant. As I scrambled to make sense of it all in my 16-year-old mind, I couldn’t believe I’d gotten myself into this mess. What in the WORLD was I thinking?

(To make that long story short, I had my daughter when I was 17 and was a single mother. My parents helped me raise her while I went to school (until High School got so bad that I stopped going), then I got my GED just to be done, met my now-husband, started college and then got married to my husband who adopted our little girl.

Since getting married, my husband and I have had 3 more children, had one of our children die when he was 4 months old, moved three times, bought a farm, started our own businesses, and have generally gained a LOT of life experience.)

Again, let me repeat… SAVE SEX FOR SOMEONE WHO IS WORTH IT!! Do you know what it felt like when I met my husband and had to tell him that I’d had sex with other people when he’d WAITED to have sex? It was so embarrassing. It was humiliating. It was devastating to him. I was ASHAMED of how stupid I’d been.

And you know those guys you think are “so hot” and so amazing right now? The ones you would literally kill someone if it meant you could date them? They aren’t going to be hot in 10 years. I know I sound old when I say this, but the guys that I thought were “so hot” are bald, fat and mostly unhappy almost 30-somethings that didn’t amount to much of anything. And I let THOSE guys determine my self worth.

Also, Your BFF will probably not really end up being your Best Friend Forever.

I know that you think all of your best friends from High School are going to be your bridesmaids and your best friends for life…. But that’s probably not true either. The thing is… college changes things. So does growing up. You move to different states, discover passions you didn’t even know you had, start pursuing your dreams and look back and realize you’ve outgrown a lot of your friendships.

It’s okay, though. Because I really do believe that every single friend or enemy, every person that’s been on your path in your life, was there for a reason and a season that you wont fully understand until it’s over.

Only SOMETIMES do those friends truly stay around for a lifetime.

BE NICE TO EVERYONE YOU MEET. You honestly have NO IDEA when you are going to run into people from High School and possibly be at their mercy. This isn’t the only reason to be nice to people, but seriously, BE NICE TO PEOPLE.

Do you really want to rekindle some HS bullshit in the Emergency Room one night 10 years from now when you’re kid is really sick and your enemy from High School turns out to be your ER physician? Awkward…

I’ve also heard many stories over the years about students who were so depressed they were considering taking their own lives… but then someone was nice to them. You have no idea whose life you might be saving when you make the choice to be nice instead of “cool”. (When “cool” means insulting people, gossiping and hurting people on purpose then I PROMISE that you do NOT want to be “cool.” That person doesn’t go anywhere once they grow up.)

You have no idea who you will reconnect with later. Some of my CLOSEST friends are people I either didn’t know well in High School, OR who I actually HATED (and who HATED me!) Life works in the strangest ways, and you NEVER can tell who you will cross paths with again.

There are a million other things I’d like to tell you not to do—don’t drink, don’t do drugs, if you do drink don’t DRIVE, call for help when you need it, tell the truth, don’t cheat, respect your parents, appreciate your parents, tell your best teachers that they’ve made a difference in your life, believe in yourself, etc.

But today, I just want you to remember to be nice to everyone you meet and respect yourself enough not to have sex with people you think are so wonderful in High School. Dedicate your time to figuring out your passions, your dreams and your goals. And then go out there and make it happen!

Trust me… 10 years goes faster than you think! And you won’t believe what can change in those 10 years 😉

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21 Grey’s Anatomy Quotes that just NAILED IT

I love Grey’s Anatomy. The drama, the romance, the moments where the characters walk through the most devastating tragedies and learn what they’re really made of. It’s so freaking great that it’s painful to watch sometimes- And that’s why I love it!

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Since we have a few more weeks until the show returns with new episodes, let’s just take a look at 21 of the moments when Grey’s Anatomy REALLY just nailed it!!

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We spend our whole lives worrying about the future, planning the future, trying to predict the future. As if figuring it out will somehow cushion the blow, but the future is always changing. The future is the whole of our deepest fears and our wildest hopes, but one thing is certain: When it finally reveals itself, the future is never the way we imagined it.

The early bird catches the worm. A stitch in time saves nine. He who hesitates is lost. We can’t pretend we haven’t been told. We’ve all heard the proverbs, heard the philosophers, heard our grandparents warning us about wasted time, heard the damn poets urging us to seize the day.

Still, sometimes, we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today’s possibility under tomorrow’s rug, until we can’t anymore, until we finally understand for ourselves, what Benjamin Franklin meant:

That knowing, is better than wondering. That waking, is better than sleeping. And that even the biggest failure, even the worst, most intractable mistake, beats the hell out of never trying.

Maybe we like the pain. Maybe we’re wired that way ’cause without it, I don’t know, maybe we just wouldn’t feel real. What’s that saying, why do I keep hitting myself with a hammer? Because it feels so good when I stop.

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You can seek the advice of others, surround yourself with trusted advisers, but in the end, the decision is always yours and yours alone. And when it’s time to act and you’re all alone with your back against the wall, the only voice that matters is the one in your head. The one telling you what you probably already knew. The one that’s almost always right.

Fresh starts. Thanks to the calendar, they happen every year. Just set your watch to January. Our reward for surviving the holiday season, is a new year. Bringing on the great tradition of New Year’s resolutions. Put your past behind you, and start over. It’s hard to resist the chance at a new beginning. A chance to put the problems of last year to bed.

Who gets to determine when the old ends, and the new begins? It’s not a day on a calendar, not a birthday, not a new year. It’s an event. Big or small. Something that changes us. Ideally, it gives us hope.

A new way of living and looking at the world. Letting go of old habits, old memories. What’s important is that we never stop believing we can have a new beginning.

But it’s also important to remember that amid all the crap are a few things really worth holding on to.

Communication: It’s the first thing we really learn in life. Funny thing is, once we grow up, learn our words and really start talking, the harder it gets to know what to say or how to ask what we really need.

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At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don’t keep other people out, they fence you in. Life is messy. That’s how we’re made. So you can waste your life drawing lines… or you can live your life crossing them.

But there are some lines… that are way too dangerous to cross. Here’s what I know: If you’re willing to take the chance, the view from the other side… is spectacular.

There’s an end to every storm. Once all the trees have been uprooted. Once all the houses have been ripped apart. The wind will hush. The clouds will part. The rain will stop. The sky will clear in an instant and only then, in those quiet moments after the storm, do we learn who was strong enough to survive it.

It can be scary to find out you’ve been wrong about something but we can’t be afraid to change our minds, to accept that things are different, that they’ll never be the same, for better or for worse. We have to be willing to give up what we used to believe. The more we’re willing to accept what is and not what we thought, we’ll find ourselves exactly where we belong.

Doesn’t matter how tough we are. Trauma always leaves a scar. It follows us home, it changes our lives, Trauma messes everybody up, but maybe that’s the point: All the pain and the fear and the crap. Maybe going through all of that is what keeps us moving forward, it’s what pushes us. Maybe we have to get a little messed up, before we can step up.

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Did you say it? I love you? I don’t ever want to live without you. You changed my life… did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work towards it. But every now and then, look around. Drink it in. ‘Cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow.

Too often, the thing you want most, is the one thing you can’t have. Desire leaves us heartbroken. It wears us out. Desire can wreck your life.

But as tough as wanting something can be… the people who suffer the most, are those who don’t know what they want.

Not all wounds are superficial. Most wounds run deeper than we can imagine. You can’t see them with the naked eye. And then, there are the wounds that take us by surprise.

The trick with any kind of wound or disease, is to dig down and find the real source of the injury. And once you’ve found it… try like hell to heal that sucker.

You never know the biggest day of your life is the biggest day. Not until its happening. You don’t recognize the biggest day of your life. Not until you’re right in the middle of it. The day you commit to something or someone… The day you get your heart broken. The day you meet your soul mate. The day you realize there’s not enough time… because you want to live forever. Those are the biggest days. The perfect days.

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We all think we’re going to be great. And we feel a little bit robbed when our expectations aren’t met. But, sometimes, our expectations sell us short. Sometimes, the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected.

You gotta wonder why we cling to our expectations. Because the expected is just what keeps us steady… standing… still. The expected is just the beginning.

The unexpected… is what changes our lives.

Pain. You just have to ride it out. Hope it goes away on its own. Hope the wound that caused it heals. There are no solutions. No easy answers. You just breathe deep and wait for it to subside.

Most of the time, pain can be managed. But sometimes, the pain gets you when you least expect it. Hits way below the belt and doesn’t let up.

Pain. You just have to fight through. Because the truth is, you can’t outrun it. And life always makes more.

The length of your recovery is determined by the extent of your injuries. And it’s not always successful. No matter how hard we work at it, some wounds might never fully heal. You might have to adjust to a whole new way of living. Things may have changed too radically to ever go back to what they were. It might not even recognize yourself. It’s like you haven’t recovered anything at all. You’re a whole new person with a whole new life.

People have scars in all sorts of unexpected places. Like secret road maps of their personal histories, diagrams of all of their old wounds. Most of our old wounds heal, leaving nothing behind but a scar. But some of them, don’t.

Some wounds, we carry with us everywhere… and though the cut is long gone, the pain still lingers.

What’s worse? New wounds, which are so horribly painful, or old wounds, which should have healed years ago, and never did? Maybe our old wounds teach us something. They remind us where we’ve been, and what we’ve overcome. They teach us lessons about what to avoid in the future. That’s what we like to think.

But that’s not the way it is, is it? Some things we just have to learn over and over and over… again.

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Just when we think we’ve figured things out, the universe throws us a curveball. So we have to improvise. We find happiness in unexpected places. We find our way back to the things that matter the most. The universe is funny that way. Sometimes it just has a way of making sure we wind up exactly where we belong.

We’re all susceptible to it. The dread and anxiety of not knowing what’s coming. It’s pointless in the end. Because all the worrying, and all the making of plans for things that could, or could not happen, it only makes things worse. So walk your dog. Or take a nap. Just, whatever you do, stop worrying. Because the only cure for paranoia, is to be… here… just as you are.

Some people believe that without history, our lives amount to nothing. At some point, we all have to choose. Do we fall back on what we know? Or, do we step forward, to something new? It’s hard not to be haunted by our past. Our history is what shapes us, what guides us.

Our history resurfaces. Time, after time, after time. So we have to remember. Sometimes, the most important history, is the history we’re making today.

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I love you, Grey’s Anatomy…. *sigh*

11 Ways to Stay True to Yourself

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1. Be unapologetically yourself.

I am extremely outspoken. I’ll just let you in on that little tidbit now. That loud mouth combined with excessive empathy and a short fuse often lead me to being a little excessive about defending things that I perceive to need defending.

Sometimes this is overwhelming for my friends and my family. I know everyone is always wondering what strong opinions I’ll be sharing this week. I try to keep it in check, and save my outspokenness for the really important things. But sometimes, I still get a little too passionate about things.

But one thing’s for sure, there’s no one you’d rather have on your side if you needed someone to stand up for you in a time of crisis! I’m your girl 😉

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive – Howard Thurman.

 

2. Admit and learn from your mistakes.

We all make little (and sometimes big) mistakes everyday. If you’re me, you might make mistakes in phases… three solid weeks of mistakes, 3 weeks of feeling like I actually have my shit together. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Denying our mistakes only makes them grow… just like Pinocchio’s poor little nose. It’s better just to admit to yourself that you messed up and figure out what you can learn from it.

There is no better learning experience than making a mistake. You learn about integrity, taking responsibility, what works, what doesn’t work, who you can trust, what we really want and how we want to live.

No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone is as just as flawed as everybody else. The difference comes in whether you learn from the mistakes. So learn from them and move on.

 

3. Understand that growth and change are essential

Most of us are not the same person we were 10 years ago. Most of us probably aren’t even the same person we were 2 years ago. How about one year ago? Anyone feel like they haven’t changed in the last year?

I’m willing to bet that most of you reading agreed that you have changed in the last year. (And so has almost everyone else on the face of the planet!)

Sometimes change doesn’t come easily. When change feels difficult and overwhelming, I start calling it growth. When things start changing but we don’t really want them to… that’s Growth. We drag our feet, and we hope for the best, and we ignore that everything is changing and try to hold on to what’s familiar. And no matter how hard we try to fight it, things change, just like people grow, and suddenly you’re left with growing pains and everything is different.

But what I’ve learn is that change is just an opportunity to grow.

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.

 

4. Frequently remind yourself that YOU decide who you are.

It can be hard to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to conform you to their perceived normal. We are living in a culture that is over-saturated with sales pitches telling us how we can become our best self with this wrap, these supplements, this ebook, these essentials oils, that makeup or this meditation track for only $9.99.

You have a purpose. You are here to figure out what that purpose is and to bring it to life. You decide who you are. You decide what you’re passionate about. You decide where you go on your journey and even who goes with you. Don’t hesitate to eliminate people or situations that derail you from your purpose.

Find yourself. Find your purpose.

Whatever that is, whoever you are… just remember to decide FOR YOURSELF.

 

5. SPEAK UP.

If you really believe in something, or you really oppose something… be willing to stand up and speak. I read a quote from Audre Lorde that summed this up PERFECTLY:

“I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.”

I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.

Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.

And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”

 

6. Find a confidant.

You have to have AT LEAST one best friend who knows everything about you, inside and out. This friend knows every little thought (The cellulite on my ass is never going to go away. I need to Pinterest some kind of waterproof cellulite make up for summer), every doubt (We’ve been married for 10 years. I know I love him… but should we REALLY be married?? Are we EVER going to get along?), and every stupid question you’ve ever pondered (Where in the Hell is Alaska on a map? Do goats have to have babies before we can get milk?)

One of my favorite quotes about friendship is “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

You’re going to have times where you don’t believe in yourself. Where you doubt your goals. Where you doubt your purpose. Where you doubt your passion. And it’s precisely at these moments that you need that confidant! Because she’s going to be able to remind you of who you are and what you believe and why.

 

7. Forgive yourself.

Forgiveness is something I’m working on this year. I have a natural inclination to berate myself constantly for even the smallest mistake. “Cutting myself some slack” is not a skill I was blessed with, but I’m trying to learn.

In moments where you’re tempted to be really hard on yourself, try to cut yourself some slack. When you don’t forgive yourself, you end up trapped in a cage of regret and shame. And that’s not helpful for anyone. Forgiveness is a gift that you MUST give yourself in order to live a successful life.

Your past mistakes are meant to guide you, not define you.

 

8. Be confident.

Being confident is all about knowing who you are- your strengths, your weaknesses, your passions, etc. But you can’t limit yourself only to focusing on your strengths.

I once read an exercise that instructed the readers to make a list of a few things you do well and then another list of a few things that you wish you could do well. Everyday you should strive to do everything on the first list and also work on some of the things on the second list. When you use your strength to build up your weaker areas you actually end up building confidence.

To be confident, you have to believe in yourself! And you definitely SHOULD believe in yourself! You’re no doubt an amazing, intelligent, beautiful, loving, compassionate human being who can do anything!

Believe in yourself, take risks, learn to take a compliment, be brave…. And if all else fails, fake it ‘til you make it.

Just acting confident can make you more confident! 😉

 

9. Appreciate what makes you unique.

One of the biggest motivation and confidence killers is being a pessimist!

You no doubt have many unique gifts that make you who you are. Maybe you write really well. Maybe you have an incredible voice and can sing like Adele. Maybe you have the patience of a Saint and don’t mind helping kids learn to read. Maybe you are great at keeping a tidy house and organizing. Maybe you can throw outfits together like a high paid stylist at the drop of a hat.

Don’t focus on what you can’t do, focus on what you CAN do. Those are the things that make you who you are!

 

10. Recharge when you get overwhelmed

If you are someone who gets overwhelmed easily then you probably reach the point of “burnout” a little more often than most. I totally understand that because that’s ME. And when I get burnt out I’m not very pleasant to be around. I’m grumpy, inpatient, snappy and downright mean sometimes.

So, if you’re like me… instead of pushing yourself to the point of burnout, understand and accept that you need to take the time to recharge. And then TAKE THAT TIME.

You aren’t doing yourself any favors by trying to go-go-go like your friends, without any downtime… especially when you know that when you get burned out you’re going to be a mean witch to everyone you come in contact with, whether they deserve it or not.

 

11. Do no harm, take no shit.

I stole this one from a t-shirt that keeps creeping all over my Facebook newsfeed. I love the shirt because it’s so TRUE and it’s SO ME. But it’s been sold out every time I’ve tried to buy it.

ANYWAYS…. THIS IS IMPORTANT!

For me, I think the hardest part of life is figuring out how to respect the thoughts, opinions, lifestyles, morals, beliefs and behavior of others without being walked all over.

It IS possible to respect opinions that are different than your own, but it becomes harder to navigate when those opinions and beliefs start impacting your liberty to have opinions of your own.

Personally, this is one of the hardest areas of my life. When people hurt me or the people that I love most, it’s almost instinct to want for me to want to hurt them back. But I remind myself that lashing out will NOT fix the problem… usually it will actually make it worse.

On the other hand, you also can’t remain silent about things that matter. And while you certainly shouldn’t go out seeking trouble and conflict… there is a time and a place to stand your ground, fight for what’s right and take no shit.

It’s called balance 😉

Carousel of Guilt

Of all the emotions I’ve ever experienced… GUILT has to be the worst.

Guilt is the most unrelenting, torturous, painful human emotion I’ve ever felt. It doesn’t boil to the point of boiling over and calming back down like anger does. That would be better. Guilt somehow remains at a fast simmer… for weeks, months, years or even for a lifetime.

Sometimes guilt can be healthy. It helps us to feel empathy for other people. It teaches us that our actions have a consequence and that we can hurt people if we aren’t careful. Guilt can lead to a lot of self improvement in order to avoid that feeling again.

But what about when the guilt that plagues you is because of something that isn’t necessarily your fault? This kind of guilt often plagues you and makes you question everything relentlessly. Sometimes forever. I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about.

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I call it the Carousel of Guilt

Almost five years ago my son died in the middle of the night. He was a healthy, happy, incredibly loved little boy who had just received his 4 month vaccinations. Over the past five years I’ve been plagued by the toxic repetitive “What if’s?” that keep me stuck on the carousel of guilt. 

What if I hadn’t vaccinated him? What if I’d waited? What if we’d never done it? What if I’d checked on him sooner? What if I’d done CPR when I found him instead of stepping back in horror and going into shock while my husband grabbed his body and ran out the front door with him? What if I’d been active in a church… maybe God wouldn’t have let this happen? What if I hadn’t put him down to sleep until I went to bed myself? Maybe I would have been able to save him…

This Carousel of Guilt is destructive not only to the person trapped on the ride, but also to everyone around them. You can’t function when you’re drowning in guilt. You just… can’t…

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog about forgiveness and I talked a little bit about how I’d been molested as a child by my uncle. After I posted, I was able to talk to my mom about her feelings in a way we’d never talked before.

That guilt I felt about Mason… my mom had felt for me since the moment she found out about the abuse I endured. She said she would never forgive herself. Or him. 

I have several friends whose children have been the victims of sexual abuse, and these moms have said similar things. The guilt THEY feel nearly consumes them. I’ve listened as they said that they FAILED to keep their child protected. That they “let” someone hurt them. (When in reality, they had no idea about the abuse and when they found out they did everything in their power to prevent it from happening again.)

There is a difference between your child getting hurt, and “letting” your child get hurt. My mother took me to my dad’s mothers home to spend the night. 

No normal human being thinks to ponder the question, “Will she get raped and tortured while her grandmother watches?” 

No average mom wonders, “Will my daughter get molested by her friends older brother while they are playing for 30 minutes on a Saturday afternoon?”

No one thinks to ask, “Will my child get molested by my other child while I am just a few feet away?” 

It is only after you’ve experienced nightmares more horrifying than anything you could have ever imagined that you even begin to ask these kinds of questions. It’s just not something we are programmed to think about. 

It’s easy to recognize a mother who has been impacted by something as tragic as having a child die or having a child abused. They are the mothers who are “helicopter parents,” who ask a million questions, who worry about everything, who are overprotective. And with good reason.

Because most often these are some of the BEST parents in the world who just for one second weren’t able to save their child.

Eckhart Tolle once said, “The past has no power over the present moment.” And I tend to agree. The past only has power if YOU let it.

I know that I will always end up back on the Carousel of Guilt… but I also know that I will choose to get back off and not be tethered to it. There will always be good days and there will always be bad days.

I’ve been the child that couldn’t be protected AND I’ve been the parent drowning in guilt that I couldn’t protect my child… 

I’ve learned that Rumi was right when he said, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

Let the light in, and let the healing begin. Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed, it just means that it’s not controlling your life anymore. 

10 Quotes to Help You On The Days You Want to Punch Someone in the Face

Every single one of  has days so bad that we fear we might punch the next person who frustrates us directly in the face! I know I sure have days like that!! And I’m not really an advocate for physical violence, so I’m going to recommend against the punching 😉

On a frustrating day, I like to find quotes that encourage me to move on with my day and not harbor the anger and frustration until tomorrow (or next month or next year!)

So… if you’re trying to avoid punching someone in the face today, or if you’ve already come close to ripping all of your own hair out in frustration… these  10 quotes are for you! 😉

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That last one ALWAYS gets me! In the midst of being so irritated I probably missed a blessing!

What do you do at the end of a long frustrating day?

Don’t You Quit!

 

Hang in there!You'll get through this!

When I was younger, my mom introduced me to this poem:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out.
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are –
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

It’s become a mantra of sorts. Something that lifts me up when I’m feeling down. Something that reminds me that success may be just around the corner.

We all have days where we feel less than our best. Days where we feel downright terrible and sometimes even hopeless. But no matter how far down and out you may be, there’s always a way out. There’s always a reason to continue persevering. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.

I just wanted to pass this along for anyone else who might need it today.

Hang in there! Your rainbow is waiting for you!

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